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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-22-2018

Washington [Pennsylvania] Reporter, February 22, 1918:

The end of the spit-ball spit-ball [sic] is coming. John K. Tener, president of the National League, has issued a warning to young pitchers, advising them not to cultivate the use of the spitball, and indicating that it was only the matter of a short time when it would be abolished.
[Tener:] “The spit-ball is a disgusting, unsanitary delivery not likely to endure more than a few more seasons at the most. All the members of the National League Rules Committee, Dreyfuss, Heydler and myself are strongly opposed to it, and favor its abolishment.”

The narrative I’ve always heard is that the spitter was banned as a reaction to Ray Chapman’s death, but obviously there was strong opposition to the pitch long before it was eliminated.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 22, 2018 at 12:57 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, spitball

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-21-2018

Bridgeport Times, February 21, 1918:

“Snooks” Dowd, a highly touted player with the Springfield [Massachusetts] High school last season, has turned down an offer from Miller Huggins, manager of the Yankees, according to a report from his home town. The lad intends to complete his education at Dean Academy and at Lehigh before he gives thought to professional baseball. Dowd is said to be a fine hitter, excellent fielder and possessed of remarkable speed.

Dowd hit .115/.115/.115 in 26 career plate appearances in the big leagues.

Snooks is best known for an alleged incident in a 1918 Lehigh-Lafayette football game in which he took the ball, ran 15 yards the wrong way into his own end zone, circled the goal posts, and then ran the length of the field for a touchdown. I hate to be a downer, but I don’t think that happened. The New York Sun reported the day after the 1918 Lehigh-Lafayette game that Dowd had scored a 40 yard touchdown. Nice story, though. Dowd was a three-sport athlete; he spent more than a decade playing professional basketball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 21, 2018 at 10:19 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-20-2018

Bridgeport Times, February 20, 1918:

Clark Griffith yesterday received a contribution to his bat and ball fund from the Juno Islands, the most outlying possession of the United States. The Junos came under Uncle Sam’s protection with the Philippines. The money was cabled by a company of United States marines who are stationed there. They said: “We civilized these cannibals with baseball. Accept this to help civilize Germany.”

I’m not saying this isn’t true. I’m just saying I can’t seem to find any evidence that the Juno Islands exist anywhere other than Florida and Club Penguin, neither of which came under American occupation after the Spanish-American War.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 20, 2018 at 09:45 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, February 19, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-19-2018

Bridgeport Times, February 19, 1918:

An overseas professional baseball organization to be composed of six clubs and to be known as the Anglo-American League has been launched, according to W.A. Parsons, who was in [Bridgeport] yesterday on a hunt for players.
London, Paris and Brighton are sure of places in the league. Three clubs will be located at camps—with representation likely for Aix-les-Bains and Vichy, recreation centres for American troops. The league will play a five-month season, opening on April 1 and closing on Sept. 1.

If this league had worked out, road trips to Vichy would have been a bit awkward in the first half of the 1940s.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 19, 2018 at 09:55 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, February 16, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-16-2018

Harrisburg Telegraph, February 16, 1918:

Rumors of an important deal affecting the New York and Detroit American League clubs were current to-day following a lengthy conference between Miller Huggins, the new Yankee manager, and Frank Navin, president of the Detroit club. It was generally believed that the deal involved the transfer of “Ty” Cobb to the New York club. It is understood that President Ruppert, of the New York club, would be willing to pay a price never heretofore spent for a ball player to bring Cobb to New York.

Yeah, prime Ty Cobb wouldn’t have been cheap. In 1917, Cobb led the American League in hits, doubles, triples, stolen bases, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, and total bases. He had won 12 of the past 13 AL batting championships.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 16, 2018 at 09:42 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-15-2018

[Mount Vernon, Ohio] Democratic Banner, February 15, 1918:

There is one prominent hoarder in Detroit, who doesn’t care who knows it. His name is Charles Navin and his father, Frank, owns the Detroit baseball club. Charles is the secretary of the team and he is vigorously on the scent of the cent. He is collecting pennies by the quart.

Secretary Navin has a good reason for his activity. There will be a war tax of eight cents on baseball passes this season and a tax of ten percent on paid admissions.
Navin, who is considered a statistical genius, has figured out that his ticket sellers on big days will handle as many as 18,000 pennies, 66,000 five-cent pieces and 12,000 dimes. On ordinary days, probably 8,000 one cent pieces will change hands.

This also seems like the sort of thing Navin Johnson would do.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 15, 2018 at 09:58 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-14-2018

Bridgeport Times, February 14, 1918:

Before moving New York’s big baseball show from the Waldorf to the Walcott the National League went on record yesterday as condemning the practice of certain club owners in announcing that they have intentions of buying certain star players from certain other clubs.

This, of course, was aimed at Charles F. Weeghman, president of the Chicago club, for his alleged announcement in the case of Rogers Hornsby, the star shortstop of the St. Louis Cardinals.
[Branch Rickey] complained right out loud that the officials of the Chicago club had used unsportsmanlike and unethical methods in giving to the newspapers announcements that Weeghman was willing to pay great sums of money for Hornsby, to the great damage and injury of the St. Louis organization.
[Cubs representative Walter Craighhead said that] Mr. Weeghman had not given the story to the papers that he would pay great sums of money for Hornsby…and he further declared that the Chicago club knew nothing officially as to how the rumors got afloat.

Then Mr. Rickey asserted that he had seen photographic copies of the Chicago club’s letters in the Hornsby case in the hands of newspaper men, and stuck to his original charge.

Serious question: When did the blood feud between the Cubs and Cardinals begin? Is the Hornsby embroglio the start of the rivalry that still exists today?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 14, 2018 at 09:58 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-13-2018

New York Tribune, February 13, 1918:

John H. Farrell, secretary of the National Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, is quite sanguine over the future of minor league baseball, despite the difficulties in which the International League finds itself.
It appeared even more doubtful than ever yesterday that the International League would make any attempt to build up its ruined fences. As a matter of fact, only Baltimore and Toronto were determined to carry on, and both these clubs have begun to weaken.
Almost without exception, the other seven magnates [besides Toronto owner Jim McCaffery] of the once strong minor organization have thrown their players on the market.

The International League survived and fielded an eight-team league in 1918. Richmond, Providence, and Montreal dropped out of the league and were replaced by Syracuse, Jersey City, and Binghamton. Syracuse relocated to Hamilton, Ontario in the middle of the 1918 season.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 13, 2018 at 09:38 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, February 12, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-12-2018

Bridgeport Times, February 12, 1918:

Edward Grant Barrow, former president of the International League, was appointed manager of the Boston Red Sox yesterday. He will succeed Jack Barry, who relinquished the job to enlist in the Naval Reserves as a yoeman [sic].
Barrow already has several deals in the air. He says he will immediately strengthen his team through the purchase of the best talent he can purchase from the International League.

Washington Times, February 12, 1918:

When Barrow favored a merger of the International League with the American Association, each organization dropping four clubs, his doom was sealed with the International.

The International League had cut Barrow’s salary as the league president by two-thirds, an obvious invitation to find employment elsewhere.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 12, 2018 at 10:14 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, February 09, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-9-2018

Chicago Eagle, February 9, 1918:

“Baseballs and bats are useless toys,” is the dictum pronounced by the Italian customs authorities in placing a ban on the importation of these articles for Americans in Italy.

Recently the Americans purchased the few baseballs available [in Italy] and then ordered more from the United States. There also is a shortage of bats.

Thomas N. Page, the American ambassador, has been petitioned to secure an exemption of baseball equipment from the recently enacted law against the importation of all luxuries. It is claimed the game is necessary to maintain the health of the Americans.

Of course we need baseball to maintain our health. Without baseball, we wouldn’t have prime physical specimens like John Kruk, Bartolo Colon, and Rich Garces.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 09, 2018 at 09:59 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-8-2018

El Paso Herald, February 8, 1918:

When the eastern league gets to the point where it will really decide whether it will operate or suspend in the coming baseball season, perhaps the first matter which will receive its consideration is the suggestion of manager Jack Mack, of the [Worcester] Boosters, that the teams be cut to 13 players.

Such action will give every team in the league two backstops and four pitchers, which manager Mack thinks ought to be all any team might ask to have.

I think his brain would explode if he heard there are teams 100 years later that carry 13 pitchers.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 08, 2018 at 09:46 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-7-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, February 7, 1918:


Pitcher’s Claims for Salary Larger Than Cabinet Officer Unreasonable

It has been reported that [Grover Cleveland Alexander] wanted a slice of the money paid for his release and probably would attempt to collect it from [Phillies President William Baker]. This was knocked in the head, however, when Baker declined to do anything and Charley Weeghman, head of the Chicago club, was approached instead.
[Baker released a statement that reads] “At the moment when the eyes and ears of the people of this country are strained to catch the news from over the sea as to whether those they love are drowned or have been saved, one might think that this great pitching star would go into eclipse for a few days with his demand for $22,000 for his services as a ballplayer for 1918; a salary greater than any Cabinet officer or Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, Senator or Congressman.

To paraphrase Babe Ruth, Alexander was much more talented than those guys. Elsewhere on the same page of the newspaper:

President Weeghman, of the Cubs, says there is no question but that Alexander will get his $10,000 before he leaves on the training trip.

That bonus worked out to $384.62 per inning pitched in 1918. Alexander spent most of the year working for Uncle Sam and not Uncle Klan.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 07, 2018 at 10:02 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-6-2018

Ogden Standard, February 6, 1918:

[Ketchikan, Alaska] claims a unique baseball diamond. When baseball players of this southern Alaska city schedule games they always take tide conditions into consideration for the park is built on the flats below the city and at high tide the playing ground and lower seats of the grand stand are under water…Long games are often called on account of rising tides.

I imagine they had their own version of the Baltimore chop, hit sharply downward so the ball gets stuck in the mud in front of home plate.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 06, 2018 at 11:08 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, February 05, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-5-2018

Ogden Standard, February 5, 1918, The Pacific Coast League is not happy that the Northwestern League has rebranded as the “Pacific Coast International League”.

[Portland owner] McCredie claims that neither of the governing bodies of baseball has anything to say on the question and that it is already settled.

He maintained that there is nothing in the rules which makes it necessary for the Pacific Coast International to apply to anyone in order to gain permission to call the league anything the owners please, as long as there is no real duplication.

The league played as the Pacific Coast International League in 1918, 1920, and 1921. In 1919, it was the Northwest International League and in 1922 it called itself the Western International League. The league folded after the 1922 season.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 05, 2018 at 10:34 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, February 02, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-2-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, February 2, 1918:

Sisler Could Lead All Hitters if He Waited

The batting record of George Sisler would indicate that if he would wait out the pitching, Cobb might not have led the sluggers last season.
Examination of the records shows Sisler hits too freely, thus hits at a lot of bad balls. Where Cobb received sixty-five bases on balls and Speaker seventy, Sisler walked thirty times.
When Sisler learns to wait and to hit the “cripple” he should hit over .400 right along.

George Sisler and Ichiro could hit .400 if they wanted to.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 02, 2018 at 09:47 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-1-2018

Washington Times, February 1, 1918:

Down with the generous mogul! That’s going to be the slogan in the National League. Charlie Weeghman, president of the Chicago Cubs, is to blame, and he is to be the target of action by his brother magnates when they meet in New York next week.

President Tener will offer an amendment to the National League’s constitution, seeking to prevent any magnate from making overtures to a player of a rival team or of expressing in public a desire to buy or trade a player of a rival team.

Barney Dreyfuss, of the Pittsburgh club, and Branch Rickey, of the St. Louis club, are behind the movement to squelch Weeghman…Dreyfuss says that Weeghman’s idle talk has caused Max Carey to be dissatisfied with his Pittsburgh berth, and has ruined Al Mamaux. Rickey blames Weeghman for Roger [sic] Hornsby’s holdout.

Long overdue. Someone who wasn’t as much of a gentleman as Rickey might have addressed this issue with a right cross to the jaw.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 01, 2018 at 09:19 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, tampering

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-31-2018

Ogden Standard, January 31, 1918:

Miller Huggins, the new manager of the New York Yankees, has made an offer to the Detroit Tigers for Ty Cobb, the great outfielder, according to an announcement made [yesterday].

The Yanks have an oversupply of pitchers and it is understood that Huggins has offered a couple of hurlers and a large cash amount for the “Georgia peach.”

There’s no harm in asking, I guess. The Yankees never got Cobb, but they were able to trade a pile of cash for a great hitter later in the decade.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 31, 2018 at 09:34 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-30-2018

Bridgeport Times, January 30, 1918:

A novel scheme by which a batsman would be permitted to steal first base any time the ball is in play has been advanced by a Kansas City lawyer. This attorney has written several letters to Garry Herrmann, chairman of the National Commission, and Herrmann has been interested to the extent of sending copies of his correspondence on the subject to his fellow members of the commission—Tener and Johnson—asking for an opinion of the scheme.

“It’s crazy and awful.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 30, 2018 at 09:47 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, January 29, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-29-2018

An English cricketer discusses baseball in the Bridgeport Times, January 29, 1918:

I am criticized for referring to the pitcher’s play or duties as “monotonous,” yet in the same breath a critic informs me that “sometimes a pitcher has to play for nine innings, unless he is replaced by a spare pitcher.” Well, if that is not monotony, I know it not.
For these reasons alone baseball can never be classed in the same category as cricket, and never will be by anyone who has ever played much cricket. For those who cannot play cricket, baseball may be a suitable exercise or a means for letting off volleys of abuse at umpires or players, according to whichever is losing their money.

I like ‘em both. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 29, 2018 at 12:28 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

The Reserve Clause (1879) | In Pursuit of Pennants

The book will be available in paperback. It’s a great book. You should buy it.

In the meantime, enjoy their current series.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 29, 2018 at 11:37 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, history

Friday, January 26, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-26-2018

Topeka State Journal, January 26, 1918:

Branch Rickey of the Cardinals is well pleased with his new manager, Jack Hendricks. Hendricks had a little wit combat with Charley Weeghman that made a hit with Rickey. Weeghman was offering a price for Rogers Hornsby. “Yes, you can have him,” says Hendricks, “for $150,000 and all of your players thrown in.” “Gosh, that’s stronger than I was ever able to make it,” says Rickey.

Seriously, Charley? Seriously? You’re still doing this?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 26, 2018 at 09:43 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dead horses, dugout, history

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-25-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, January 25, 1918:

Although underhand pitching is supposed to “kill” the man who sticks to it, Carl Mays, the Red Sox star, seems to thrive. After a good year in 1916 he repeated last season by running second to Eddie Cicotte in effectiveness, as measured by the earned runs scored against him.

That…is an unfortunate turn of phrase.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 25, 2018 at 09:43 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-24-2018

Washington Herald, January 24, 1918:

The fall of Jerusalem was predicted by Jim Bagby of the Cleveland Indians’ hurling staff.

Time and again he told his teammates that a study of Scripture showed him that Jerusalem would fall by December. He also claimed that Scripture shows that the world war will end by February.

And when the news of Jerusalem’s fall was given to the world, Bagby sent cards to several members of the team, calling attention to what he had predicted last summer.

In addition to which Jim is a perfectly good pitcher.

Huh. Okay.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 24, 2018 at 09:46 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-23-2018

Toledo News-Bee, January 23, 1918:

Eddie Plank declared [in Philadelphia] on Wednesday he will not sign a contract to pitch for the Yankees.

“I said last summer when I quit that I was thru [sic] for all time,” the veteran hurler announced, “and I meant it.

“If my refusal to sign calls off the deal between the Yanks and Browns, I am sorry, but I cannot help it.”

I’d love to know what the Yankees were thinking. Plank was 42 years old and retired.

Elsewhere on the same page of the News-Bee, it’s reported that “it is the common belief in baseball circles that Rogers Hornsby has played his last ball game for the Cardinals.” The article mentions that Branch Rickey would trade Hornsby if he could get a batch of players. It also says that Hornsby wants to play in a bigger city in order to make more money. This almost has to be Charlie Weeghman shaking things up again.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 23, 2018 at 08:26 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, January 22, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-22-2018

Toledo News-Bee, January 22, 1918:

Second Baseman Del Pratt and Pitcher Eddie Plank of the Browns were traded to the New York Yankees on Tuesday for five players and a cash consideration. The five players are: Catcher Nunamaker, Pitcher Cullop and Shocker, and Infielders Maisel and Gedeon. The cash consideration was not announced.

The cash consideration was eventually reported as $15,000. This was a terrible deal for the Yankees. Pratt was a good ballplayer, a second baseman who played every day and had a bat that was a bit better than league-average. Plank was great, obviously, but he was 42 years old and had retired in 1917. He never pitched another professional game.

In exchange, the Browns got a star-quality 27-year-old pitcher (Shocker), a good backup catcher (Nunamaker), three unremarkable players, and $15,000. According to the Baseball Gauge, Pratt put up 22.9 WAR after the trade. The players headed to St. Louis racked up 61.9 WAR.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 22, 2018 at 10:06 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, trades

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